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Hofn & East Iceland

If you’re hoping to venture from the capital into the east of Iceland, you’ll likely pass through the towns of Hofn and Egilsstadir separated by the eastern fjords. Here’s everything you need to know about East Iceland…


A quaint fishing town homing just over two thousand people, Hofn is in the southeast of Iceland and is the most significant settlement on Iceland’s main Route 1 road. In Iceland, Hofn translates literally to harbour, and so as you’d expect, it has one of the few natural harbours on Iceland’s south coast. Unlike many of the other harbours in the country, the stretch is beachy and flat. There are several things to do in Hofn during your trip including a tour of the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the Diamond Beach and Vestrahorn Mountain.


Another town worth a visit during your holiday to Iceland is Egillstadir. This is the largest town in east Iceland and yet its population is less than three thousand. It sits on the banks of the river Lagarfljot in the wide valley of the fertile Fljotsdalsherad district and so as you’d expect, the flora and fauna here is breathtaking. The town has its own airport as well as plenty of bus services, a college and a health centre. Some of its best sights include Dettifoss waterfall which is just a few hours drive away, the East Fjords which offers magnificent views and extensive wildlife and more famously, Skaftafell National Park in the southeast.

Best Sights in East Iceland

Those travelling to east Iceland will not be short of things to see and do. One of the best places to visit in east Iceland is Vatnajökull, the second-largest glacier in Europe which covers 8% of Iceland’s landmass. It also holds the tallest peak in Iceland beneath its ice; Hvannadalshnjúkur which is 2,200 meters tall (7,218 feet). It also conceals some of the most active volcanoes in the country, the most notable being Grímsvötn, Öræfajökull, and Bárðarbunga.

Nearby, in Vatnajökull National Park, you’ll also find Skaftafell Nature Reserve which was once a national park in its own right. Skaftafell is notable for its rich flora, growing between sands and glaciers, and for its amazing, contrasting scenery. Visitors will find a wealth of natural attractions, from cascading waterfalls to glacier lagoons, and geological formations to black sand deserts. We also recommend a visit to Jökulsárlón, Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. The lake is filled with meltwater from an outlet glacier. In this case, it is Breiðamerkurjökull, a tongue of Europe’s largest ice cap, Vatnajökull.

Some lesser known sights to see in East Iceland include Víti Crater Lake which be found in the Askja caldera, a 50 square kilometre square depression that formed at the end of the last glacial age. There’s also Hengifoss, Iceland’s third-highest waterfall which is most famous for the black and red basalt rock wall that sits behind the falling water and Laugarvellir Hot Natural Waterfall a remote geothermal pool, waterfall and valley found in the northeast region of the Central Highlands. It's the perfect place for a bathe after a long day of exploring with the waters measuring out between 39-41 degrees Celsius.

If you'd like to visit East Iceland for yourself, why not check out our incredible selections of East Iceland Fly Drive holidays here. Alternatively, get in touch with the Iceland Holidays team at info@icelandholidays.com and we'd be happy to create a bespoke itinerary just for you.


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